Americans are fighting for their psychological health in these turbulent times, says a leading motivational expert.
Many people are battling anxiety issues that threaten to become chronic without a plan of action to hold them at bay. Dr. Rob Fazio says anxiety has become as contagious as COVID-19.
Fazio, a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania and the managing partner at OnPoint Advising, specializes in global leadership. His father was killed trying to help others on 9/11 and since then he has devoted his career to empowering people to grow though any type of loss and adversity during times of crisis.
He told The Hill anxiety can often lead to depression and other challenging experiences.
"Therefore, we need to act together fast," he said. "Think of it as starting a pandemic of strength and growth. By flattening the anxiety curve, it not only gives people relief, but also increases the chance that people will be stronger and more resourceful on the other side."
According to ABC News, more than 7 million people in the U.S. are affected by generalized anxiety disorder and about 6 million with panic disorder at this time. These numbers are expected to rise, experts said.
"We know that stress diminishes our immune system," Fazio told Newsmax. "This makes us more vulnerable to sickness and viruses. Doctors are concerned because they are used to a data-based playbook, but this time they are playing in a game they have never played before. We need to play our part by decreasing our anxiety, increasing our focus, strength and growth and boost our immune systems."
Here are his tips:
- Active stress management. "We need to have a more active approach that connects us physically as well as psychologically," he said. Some examples are walking, running, deep breathing, intentional laughter, or dancing.
- Find a purpose. "There is no better positive distraction from the lack of control we feel than finding meaning and purpose during a crisis," Fazio said. And it does not have to be a Nobel prize discovery, the expert said. "It can be something as simple as spending time every day supporting a friend or learning stress management skills so you can help others."
- Be a growth leader. Right now, we can all take a leadership role, says Fazio, and use our power to send a positive vibe to others: "Emotion is contagious so be intentional in your interaction and focus on helping people stay connected, positive, motivated, and in control. Don't let navigating this crisis become a greater crisis."
- Build your growth resources. The nonprofit Hold the Door for Others used research based on 9/11 families to develop resources that help people grow through adversity, trauma, loss, and crisis. Among the resources they identified are optimism, resilience, spirituality, self-confidence, and emotional intelligence.
- Learn, laugh, love. "In times of crisis and uncertainty creating a sense of control and positive momentum matters," Fazio said. "Each day spend at least 15 minutes doing something that falls into one of these categories: learn, laugh, and love. Our minds ae powerful, but they cannot experience two emotions at the same time. If you are laughing, you aren't anxious."
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